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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 9 Aug 1934

Vol. 53 No. 19

In Committee on Finance. - Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill, 1934—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed:—"That Section 19 stand part of the Bill."

Sections 19 and 20 are being taken together.

The discussion is on Section 19. I presume there will be no debate on Section 20.

The Minister summed up his Second Reading speech by saying that the problem was one of surplus cattle. I would like to ask him, under Section 19, where he proposes to employ 130 supervisors? Are they the inspectors who are mentioned in this section?

Dr. Ryan

One hundred and twenty of them are.

And there are ten supervisors, a rank above the remaining 120?

Dr. Ryan

They are for another purpose.

You will let loose 120 inspectors to mark cattle. What is the need for marking them? What need is there in a country where you have a surplus of cattle to hold them until they reach a certain standard of maturity? Obviously the marking means that, before a fixed date, they cannot be slaughtered. If it were the opposite, that before the fixed date they must be slaughtered, I could see some sense in it, in the case of a surplus. If we had a scarcity of cattle, then I could see reason in the Minister's marking, that before a fixed date they should not be slaughtered until they would be thoroughly matured. If the public taste is satisfied to have them before they are matured, is it not all the better, particularly when we have a surplus? Two or three months ago the Minister found himself authorising the slaughter of 120,000 calves. If he was right then, what sense is there in asking inspectors to mark cattle so that they cannot be slaughtered until after a certain date? I do not see how that serves the purpose that the Minister would seem to have in mind; in fact, I do not see what purpose it serves at all.

Dr. Ryan

It is little use making a Second Reading speech in this House, apparently. That matter was very fully dealt with. I do not know whether Deputy Belton's memory is a bit defective or whether he is inclined to prolong this discussion. I said on Second Reading that there are likely to be times when there may be too many cattle offered for sale, but they could be disposed of if they were carried forward for a period, as happened last spring. The same thing may occur in September or October; we may have too many at one particular period, and by keeping them back we may eventually be able to deal with them all. These marking provisions will only come into operation from time to time. I hope they will not come into operation at all, but it may be necessary to bring this part of the Bill into operation at certain times.

The marking provisions will be necessary in case there is a surplus or a shortage of cattle. In the event of a surplus, it will be necessary to allow butchers to slaughter only the best and most matured cattle, so that we may inflict the least amount of hardship. It will be our endeavour to take the best finished cattle off the farmers' hands, if there is a surplus. If there is a shortage there is also power in the Bill to limit the number that may be killed. I do not know if that provision will be necessary, but it may be. That covers the case in relation to the necessity of marking. Suppose there are 10,000 cattle that the farmers would like to sell for slaughter, and we find we can use only 7,000, is it not reasonable that we would pick out the best finished cattle and let them be slaughtered first? The man with the best finished cattle will get out first, and the man whose cattle will improve in three weeks will be enabled to dispose of them at the end of that period. That is the reason for the marking.

Does the Minister intend to put the marking provision into operation at once?

Dr. Ryan

Not at once.

Then what are the 120 inspectors for?

Dr. Ryan

I stated already that the 120 would be necessary for the other provisions of this Act. That is to say, that they would have to look after matters connected with the fixed prices; they would have to examine, when called upon to do so, any complaints in that respect, and also complaints in connection with the free meat part of the Bill. These are the principal headings under which the inspectors will be required, if the marking provisions are not necessary. If the marking provisions are brought in we will probably want 300 inspectors. This estimate is on the basis that we are not going to introduce the marking provisions—that marking will not be necessary. I hope it will not be necessary to operate this part of the Bill.

The Minister says that if we take as an instance 1,000 cattle that are for sale, and we want only 700, it is only fair to take the 700 that are the most mature, and to kill them, and then carry over our surplus to another period. The Minister knows well that we always have a surplus of fat cattle. He knows also that under the operation of this provision, if it is carried out mathematically, every beast suitable will be finished in the last batch, and consequently the surplus will be increased. The feeders will come under the operation of the law of diminishing returns, and they will be feeding at a loss.

The Minister, instead of solving the problem that he has persuaded himself he has set out to solve, is only making the problem bigger, and is not solving it at all. I still cannot see what useful purpose the marking of cattle will serve. Take 10,000 fat cattle, each of which is within two and a-half or three per cent. of being finished cattle. Obviously they will feed more people than 10,000 cattle which are little better than three-quarters fat. The Minister's reason, as I said before, would be perfectly sound, and I would agree with it, if we were short of cattle. But we have a surplus, and the longer we keep the cattle the more surplus we will have. Instead of getting rid of the cattle before they are heavy, and contain so much meat, the Minister wants to stop us by marking, and allowing nothing but the finished beasts to be slaughtered. He is there increasing the quantity, lowering the profit, and increasing the problem that he is trying to solve, namely, how this country is to dispose of its surplus fat stock. The Minister need not think that I want to stop or delay this Bill, but I simply cannot see any reason in this section. The explanation he has given only puzzles me still further as to the common-sense actuating the Minister in putting up such a provision in any circumstances unless there is a of a meat shortage. If there is a danger of a meat shortage, then every beast standing on four legs should be fed up to the maximum so as to produce the maximum amount of meat. No beast should be killed while he is capable of being increased by another cwt. or even by 10 lbs. In view of the existing surplus the Minister is trying to get rid of 120,000 calves, throwing them into a pit, and getting 6d. per animal for their skins. This section is the most illogical proposal I ever heard put forward by any Minister.

I can assure the Minister I do not want in any way to obstruct this Bill, but as one who will be affected I am very much interested in it. On the question of marking of cattle, what is going to happen in the case of the second and third-class cattle?

Dr. Ryan

Wait until they are finished.

But "finished" does not constitute first-class quality beef; you may have a beast of which you may never make first quality. I am merely looking for information in this matter. When the butcher comes he will want the best, and will take the best. Anticipating a surplus, the inspector says these may wait as they are second and third-class. But the owner may not be able to improve those beasts so as to make the best out of them, and so he carries them over. Then something may happen as happened last winter when the restrictions came out. A number of us had a number of fat cattle, and expected to get licences. The result was that the cattle were, as they say in farmer's language, "eating their heads off." We had to dispose of them for anything we could get, and, indeed, practically gave them away. If we are to have these cattle, and feed them, for another two months, we will have to carry them over, and we will be losing on them all the time.

Dr. Ryan

There is nothing in this section of the Bill about first or second-class cattle. It deals with finished cattle. If they are second-class cattle, but finished, they can be marked. Obviously if you cannot do more, you finish them.

I must be dense if I have not been able to grasp the point that the Minister has made a couple of times, that it is only in exceptional circumstances that Part IV. of the Bill will be put into operation.

Dr. Ryan

That is so.

What are the special circumstances?

Dr. Ryan

Whenever they arise.

Does it not follow as a matter of course?

Dr. Ryan

No. The fixed price can operate with the marking.

I am looking for information, and I am trying to understand this section. I would be glad to see an end of the Bill, one way or another, and so would more than I. But I cannot see while we have a surplus of cattle, the necessity for the marking of them in order to keep them up to the maximum limit. Any attempt the Minister has made to clarify that does not convince me. Does not the Minister agree that the longer you keep cattle and finish them the more meat there will be?

Dr. Ryan

But the better meat you will have.

The Minister's problem is one of surplus meat. Is he not increasing his problem the more meat he has? When there is danger of an increased surplus any practical man will tell you that to get rid of your cattle before that stage will leave you with more money. Why charge something upon the owners of that stock by making them keep their cattle for a certain period? If they do so they are losing money and your problem is only made bigger. I think that is quite clear. I do not want to corner the Minister on it; it is a matter of business. There are two Deputies here with more practical experience of the live stock business than I have— Deputy Curran and Deputy Haslett. I am sure they will corroborate what I am saying. It is seldom the really finished article passes into the last stage here. What better proof have you than this, namely, that beef was never as big an industry as store cattle. In many cases the stuff we were selling as beef here was bought by the Scottish buyers, kept for six or eight weeks, and then turned out on the market as best British beef. Ask any practical man in this country who knows the English market and he will tell you the best Irish beef is sold before slaughtered. Opportunity and experience, locality and time to dispose of the article brings the feeder the most money. Now, the Minister is increasing his problem. He is depriving the producers or the farmers of an opportunity to sell their stock at a time that, in their opinion, will pay them best. The Minister wants to force them, in some circumstances that I cannot visualise here, to keep them longer, so that they may put on more meat, whereas his problem is that we want to get rid of them.

Dr. Ryan

I think that both my views and Deputy Belton's views are on record already, and there is no use in repeating them. We will have to wait to see who is right. It is impossible for Deputy Belton to convince me that he is right, and I am sure that it is equally impossible for me to convince him that I am right. However, if a man had 1,000 cattle and only 500 were to be killed this week, is it not only fair to allow a man the opportunity to get out?

But what are you going to do with the other 500?

Dr. Ryan

Well, then, the other man must still hold on.

But then another 1,000 will come along and there will be another 500 extra. That is the Minister's problem. It is his funeral.

Dr. Ryan

Well, I am hoping to be able to solve it.

But we are here, 21 years of age and upwards, and we would like to know how the Minister is going to solve it.

Dr. Ryan

I have stated already that I believe we can deal with the cattle as they come for slaughter for the home market and for the free meat supply.

What market is the Minister providing for the surplus meat, after he deals with the 180,000 here?

Dr. Ryan

I gave the figures on the Second Reading of what we consumed last year, and exported in the way of fat cattle. I also gave the figures of the proposed consumption in the way of free meat. I shall not repeat those figures. Otherwise, Second Reading speeches would be useless.

Section 19 agreed to.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person—
(a) to slaughter for human consumption in Saorstát Eireann any unmarked cattle, or

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 7.

7. In sub-section (1) (a), after the word "slaughter" to insert the words "for sale."

Would the Minister explain the section?

Dr. Ryan

Deputy Curran raised a point here about the buyer and the seller and I spent a rather sleepless night considering his point. I think I can move to have this section deleted on the Report Stage, so that the seller of the beast will not suffer unless there is a charge of collusion.

I remember the Minister saying that the seller can sell at any price to the butcher.

Dr. Ryan

That is a different point.

Anyway, the meaning I took out of it was the opposite of what the Minister says.

Is not the penalty under Section 20—£10—very extreme?

Dr. Ryan

I do not think it is very extreme.

Amendment No. 7 agreed to.
Question: "That Section 20, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
The Minister may determine, from time to time as occasion requires, the number of cattle required for slaughter for human consumption in Saorstát Eireann during any particular period, and the principles on which cattle for such slaughter are to be selected, and on which the earliest date for such slaughter of any particular animal is to be fixed, and the Minister shall communicate every such determination to all inspectors at such times and in such manner as he shall think fit.
Question proposed: "That Section 21 stand part of the Bill."

This deals with a number of cattle required for slaughter for human consumption.

Dr. Ryan

As a matter of fact, it is doubtful whether that was necessary at all in the Bill. It says, merely, that I must send to the inspectors the number that they may mark. I say to them to mark 10,000 or 20,000 cattle, as the case may be.

And a good deal too.

Dr. Ryan

If you like to delete the section, I have power to do it.

There is a lot in what the Minister has said now to the effect that it depends on the number of cattle marked. Is the Minister going to regulate the supply according to the demand? Is he going to hold two stopcocks and turn on one, and if the other is not able to let it through, stop the flow? The number that will be slaughtered depends on the number marked. You might deduct from that the number that the Minister gathers from other sources of information, such as the Minister for Industry and Commerce and so on, will be the number that will be marked and no more.

Dr. Ryan

You may be sure that I will not allow a shortage.

No, but I am thinking of the man that will not be marked; just as we had the experience last spring of a number of cattle held up and no licences issued to tie on to their tails or their horns. The Minister said just now, in an absent moment I daresay, that the number that will be slaughtered will depend on the number that are marked and vice versa.

Dr. Ryan

If I said that, I do not think it was right.

Well, will we wait to delete that nonsensical section?

Section 21 agreed to.
(1) The Minister may at any time at his discretion by order declare that the whole or any particular portions or portion of this Part of this Act shall, as from a specified date not earlier than the date of such order, extend and apply to sheep in like manner as it applies to cattle, but with and subject to such (if any) modifications as shall be specified in such Order.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 8:—

In sub-section (1), after the word "may" to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."

This is the first of a series of consequential amendments—Nos. 10, 11 and 26, and some others.

Dr. Ryan


Amendment No. 8 agreed to.
Section 22, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 23 stand part of the Bill."

We would like to say something on this section before it passes.

That is merely on the question before the House.

I want to hear the Minister on this section. I want to know, here and now, from the Minister, what steps he is going to take, or what statistics he is going to act on, in connection with the fixing of a minimum price. The whole Bill, in my opinion, hinges on this section and on the powers that the Minister takes to himself for the fixing of a minimum price and what will be the determining factor in arriving at what we call a minimum price, having due regard to every interest and every element concerned. The Minister, last night made all sorts of accusations against me. I do not want to delay the House too long, but I want to know from the Minister here and now what he is going to do in connection with the fixing of a price. I might say, in connection with this section, that I have been asked about this Bill and this section, and if I cannot get information from the Minister, who is guiding this Bill through the House, from whom will I get it? Therefore I want information from the Minister himself.

Dr. Ryan

What is the Deputy's difficulty?

I want to know how you are to arrive at the minimum price? That is the point I want cleared up.

The Deputy found it very difficult to say it.

I said it more than once.

Dr. Ryan

We had a discussion on this last night——

Not on this question.

Dr. Ryan

It was the principal point on the Second Reading. I stressed the point that this was the big item in this Bill—the fixing of the price. I said I wanted to get back to the position before the quota was brought in against our cattle in Great Britain. That is the position to which I want to get back. I want to set the producer the price he would ordinarily get for his cattle if the quota had not been brought in against us. Previous to the quota being introduced there had to be deducted from the price that our cattle made in England the cost of transit and commission expenses as between this country and Great Britain; in addition to that there had to be deducted the difference between the tariff imposed by the British and the bounty we gave. Bearing these things in mind, the price will be fixed at the export value of the cattle or at the nearest possible figure to the export value of the cattle.

Will it be the price at Birkenhead or at Belfast?

Dr. Ryan

Let us take an example, if you like. A beast sold in Birkenhead, say, at £16——

Or so much per cwt.

Dr. Ryan

I would rather take it the other way. I am not quick enough that way. Take it, say, at £16. The ordinary expenses on that beast, previous to the tariff, were about £2. That was the difference then between the Birkenhead and Dublin markets. That brought the price of the beast down to £14. Off that £14 had to be deducted the difference between the tariff of £6 and the bounty of 35/-. That was £4 5s. So that that brings the price of the beast really down to £9 15s. to-day. I will go back to the cwt. calculation, if you like. We will take it that the £16 beast weighed 8 cwt. Whatever price was to be fixed on the 8 cwt. beast would be roughly the price per cwt. This price would not be fixed on one beast, but on a number. In that way the person who has a licence would find that that licence is of no value to him other than the ordinary value of the exported cattle. I believe that a man made, perhaps, 3/- or 5/- a head on the export of cattle, and he sometimes lost. The person who has a licence will not be able to sell it then for 20/- or 30/-. I do not know if that explanation will satisfy the Deputy or whether it makes it clear to the House.

We know the basis on which the Minister would turn round and fix the price. Does the Minister think that that is a fair basis?

Dr. Ryan

That is another question.

That is really the question. Will not the producers want a fair price as well as anybody else? Does the Minister think that—taking the tariff and the bounty—that taking this £4 5s. off the price of the beast will leave the farmer a fair price? I ask this, having regard to the fact that the Minister and his supporters in this House have been telling the people that the British have no use for beef any longer. But now the Minister turns around and says that the farmers here should take £4 5s. for the beast less than they have been getting or that they would get but for the tariff. In view of the fact that the British Government themselves have introduced a Bill to enable them to pay the producers of beef in Great Britain what they consider a fair price for it, does the Minister think that the farmers here are being fairly treated? I tell the Minister that his calculation is not a fair calculation, and that it should be compiled on some other basis than the basis he has put before us this evening. I am sure the Minister himself knows that too.

Dr. Ryan

I think it is unfair in a way for the Deputy to raise that point on this section. I could argue against him. If the Deputy wants the question of the £4 5s. 0d. remedied, what he should really do is ask for a higher bounty. We can only operate this Bill by fixing the export price of the cattle. We cannot operate this Bill by fixing a higher price for export. Take butter, for instance. We could not fix a higher price for butter here for export than the price at home. If you want to raise the price of cattle then the Deputy ought to argue the case by saying that the levy and the bounty is too low and ask that the bounty should be raised. We are only discussing how this section should be operated.

I do not think I can follow Deputy Curran's reasoning in this matter. The home price will be determined by what the beast actually makes in the outside market. If the home price is raised higher, then there would be no inducement to export the cattle. Is the Minister sanguine about the operation of the export price and the carrying out of it? It would be all right if there were a shortage. But we have a surplus and we are likely to have a surplus for some time to come. Possibly the dealers and maybe the farmers are very ingenious. I do not see that this section will be very satisfactorily worked. Take, for instance, a licensed butcher who goes to buy cattle. The Minister said in his Second Reading speech that the number of grades would be limited. He cannot have a whole lot of grades. Now, the butcher, the would-be purchaser, says to the farmer: "Well, your cattle will suit me, but there is a number of them there that are not worth the price fixed to me." Suppose, for example, that the price is fixed at 25/- and the butcher says they are not worth more than 22/- or 23/- to him and the farmer wants to sell the cattle at that price, what is going to happen? What is to prevent the farmer saying: "I will give you a certain figure as luck-penny"? That is one of the loopholes in the Bill and I am not very sanguine about how it will work out. I put it to the Minister to say if he is hopeful of carrying out this minimum price satisfactorily.

Might I inquire if Deputy Haslett's criticism is that there will be evasion, that the slaughterer will commit an illegality and that he will offer a lower price than the minimum price?

No, no, but the beast is not worth the price.

And the luck-penny may be bigger.

I followed the Minister's reasoning to-day and yesterday. I think he dealt with this matter at some length on the Second Reading. I see his reasoning all right. I see the two problems with which he is confronted. One is the fixing of a price and the other problem is the one that has been mentioned already—a thing that runs through the whole Bill—the surplus. The Minister separates the two knocks that the trade has got. This Bill is only going to recoup the farmer for part of the second knock and does not touch the first knock at all. The first knock was the British tariff. I think I interpret the Minister aright when I say—I need only repeat his words—that he is not touching that at all. He is not touching the loss inflicted by the British tariff but he proposes in this Bill to meet the situation that arises from the quota, but so far as I have read the Bill he has not dealt with the surplus. We shall leave that aside for the moment and we shall deal with the price and the formula upon which the Minister is going to work to fix the price. The Minister cannot fix any meat price, nor is any meat price fixed by any statistician in the world, except in relation to feeding prices, cereal prices. He will find that back to the beginning of records on cereals and meats, that they go up and down together in double harness. The formula that the Minister adopts for cereals, he must adopt for meat. He is confronted with this, that if the farmer is going to get no remedy under this Bill or any other Bill for the British tariff——

He is not.

If he is not going to get it, then that position must be reflected in the price of oats and barley. You cannot get away from that. I quote the following figures from a reputable journal, perhaps the most reputable in the world, the Economist, dated August 4th, the current number. Taking cereals and meat in 1927 at a price of 100, they rise and fall together, and on September the 18th, 1931, the figure is shown as 64.5, as against 100 in 1927. In April, 1934, the figure was 67.8; in July, 1934, 73, and in August, 1934, 73.3. The Minister is going to regulate his meat price, as he told us a moment ago, by taking the Birkenhead price, deducting from that £2 for the cost of shipping the beast and other sundry charges, and then taking £4 5s. off to represent the difference between the tariff and the bounty. He is going to fix his price at that figure. Why take the £4 5s. off, if you want to do justice? Is not the price, before that amount is deducted, the level of prices that would obtain here if we had no economic war? Where is your moral right now to collect the annuities if you insist that the farmer must pay that £4 5s.? The consumer, the butcher and all the rest, who are not producers of meat, must get meat at a rate of £4 5s. per beast of 10 cwt. live weight, roughly, less than the world market price. The Minister knows my views on the question of rates and annuities. We are not going to discuss that question now, but I am going to say that there is no man on these benches who will not go out and tell the farmers to pay their rates and annuities immediately——

That is very like a discussion on the question, which the Deputy promised to avoid.

It is in this way, a Chinn Comhairle. The Minister, in fixing his minimum price for meat, through the sale of which annuities and rates can only be paid, should fix that minimum price at the figure that would rule here if there was no economic war—in other words, if England were not collecting the annuities. If he can take the price at Birkenhead as his formula and deduct the cost of transit and sundry charges, and forget about the £6 tariff, he then would have the price that people would have to pay for meat if the economic war were not on. If there are people in this country who want the economic war to go on, let it go on, but let this one section which is producing meat not have to bear £4 5s. per beast of a loss. Fix the standard price with due regard to the world price, apart from any question of a tariff, and there is no man in this country has any moral right to withhold his rates or annuities from the Government.

I challenge the Minister to show the equity of the basis on which he proposes to fix his prices now. The economic war is there. It is a fact that a tariff of £6 has to be paid on each beast. True, the Minister comes in with a bounty of 35/-, leaving a net loss of £4 5s. 0d. per beast. Why is that to remain? Is not that reducing the level of prices here as regulated by the world market? Is it not reducing, on the average, the wholesale price of ten cwt., live weight, of beef by £4 5s.? The rest of the community get the benefit of that. Why does the Minister not remedy that? Why does he not take that into account in fixing the standard price? Where is the equity in fixing a price which makes the producer carry that loss? The Minister comes along and says "Our one concern is to help the farmer, the producer. The £1 per beast will be borne by the butcher." Of course, it will not be borne by the butcher. Then, the producer has to bear the £4 5s. to which I have already referred. The Minister, coming along to help out the producer, fixes a price which perpetuates that fixed loss per beast to the producer and he makes no bones about it. He makes no apology for standardising the price of that fixed loss. Then he wants the butcher to pay £1 into the revenue. This is the way that the problem is going to be solved. If the Minister wants to tackle this problem seriously and wants to start by fixing prices, let him fix a price based on world market prices and deduct the expenses that we must incur by sending our stuff into the world market. Let him remember that if he fixes that price on anything else, everything grown must bear that loss of £4 10s. per beast. It is attempting the ridiculous and the impossible to separate the price of feeding stuffs from the price of beef. It is nothing more than saying that you will charge a high price for cloth to make a suit but that the suit will be cheaper. You must transmit the loss due to that British tariff to your cultivated crops-oats, barley, feeding potatoes and roots. Their price must be reduced by that amount. Unless the Minister is going to fix this figure at the world price, less the cost of getting into the world's market place, he is going to devalue the market price of every crop grown on Irish soil while the economic war lasts. I do not want to discuss the economic war and I am not discussing it. I am discussing its effects and those effects should not be ignored in fixing the price of our meat. By fixing the price of our meat at the world price everybody will bear a fair share of the burden of the fight. Nobody will have more right than another to squeal. The Minister has admitted that the result of the British tariff is not dealt with under this Bill. He suggested to Deputy Curran that the only way by which that problem could be tackled would be to increase the bounty. Increasing the bounty would not affect the case at all. An increase in the bounty would affect the return from the beef we export but it would not affect the price of the beef for home consumption. The price will remain that which the Minister will fix, according to his formula, but if the bounty is cut out altogether, if our Government pays the British tariff and fixes the price at the world price, less the charges of sending over, then the people who export will get the world price and the people who consume at home will have to pay the world price and no more. In the case of butter, they are paying more than the world price. There is no analogy between the two things. What we want done is to have the price fixed at the world price, less the cost of sending our stuff into the world market. In other words, to keep the level of the home meat market at the world level, less the charge of sending out our stuff. If the Government want an equitable distribution of responsibility, let them pay the British tariff and fix their price at the world price. If the Minister neglects to do that, the country must inevitably collapse. It cannot carry on. I should like to have reasons from the Minister as to why he is deliberately refusing to fix the price at the world price, less the charges of transportation.

Dr. Ryan

When Deputy Belton is not talking utter nonsense, he is spending his time reading economic journals. We have to suffer for that. We have to suffer speeches about world prices, primary products, raw materials, and finished products from a man who knows nothing about them. A child going to school would understand these economic questions better than does Deputy Belton. Why does not the Deputy sit down and study a Bill like this so that he will know what he is talking about? How could you fix a price that would not be the same as the export price—whatever the export price may be? Whether or not the export price is subject to a tariff or a bounty, we must operate this Bill at the export price. I think that Deputy Curran understood me perfectly when I said that. I think that every other Deputy here understood me save Deputy Belton.

I did understand you, and I disagreed with your formula.

Dr. Ryan

That is the Deputy who is destined to lead that Party into the jungle. Deputy Belton does not understand this question. He says the bounty makes no difference in this case. That shows his utter ignorance.

Will the Minister quote me correctly? I said that the bounty would make no difference if you fixed the price at the world price, less the cost of sending our stuff into the world market. Neither would it make any difference.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy should realise that one requires a little knowledge before he studies these economic journals. One should not try to understand them unless he has that little knowledge.

Do not hide your ignorance that way.

Dr. Ryan

This section cannot be operated unless we fix the price at the export price. If the Deputy wants to have export prices raised to what they would be if there were no tariff, then he should agitate for a bounty or a settlement of the economic war and do away with the tariff. If the tariff were done away with, then we would operate this section at export prices, paying no tariff. Suppose the tariff is increased, then we must operate this section at the price here, paying the full amount, whatever it may be. What we pay in tariff and what the bounty is going to be is quite a different problem. That is a problem in itself and should be argued seperately. It was argued very often here, and it should hardly be necessary to argue it on this section. I wish the Deputy would understand that the question as to whether the farmer is going to get enough for his cattle or not cannot be raised on this section. All that can be raised on this section is the question the Deputy has not raised—whether it is possible to operate the section or not. Surely there is only one way of operating it. That is to get the best export price that can be got after paying the tariff, if there is a tariff, and after getting the bounty, if there is a bounty. If these factors are present, they must be taken into account in operating the fixed price. Whether they should be there or not is a different question and should be argued on another section, if argued at all on this Bill. The Deputy should not take advantage of every section of this Bill to make that economic speech, which I regard as the greatest nonsense but which the Deputy, no doubt, regards as being a very profound pronouncement from the Opposition benches. We do not object to it, but we are sick of it.

This section deals with minimum prices. I am in agreement with the Deputies, who contended that the minimum price, whatever it will be —I am not going to refer to it at any great length—will not be a fair price. I do not think that the Minister, by means of this Bill or any other Bill like it, can create that price, having regard to the cost of production. The Minister is attempting in this Bill to fix minimum prices for fat cattle. The question arises on this section how that is to be brought about. If we were to arrive at a fixed price, at a price that would please everybody and that would put an end to the tariffs and all that, then there would be no necessity for this Bill as far as prices are concerned, because they would regulate themselves. But, unfortunately, that is not the case, and, therefore, this Bill is necessary.

This section deals with minimum prices. The question that agitates me is this: is the farmer guaranteed the minimum price, whatever it is? Is there any certainty that the seller of cattle will get the minimum price? To me it appears doubtful from my reading of this section. Take the feeder of grass cattle. The cattle will be marked by an inspector to be sold at various periods. I do not grumble at that. There will at least be this disability in some cases: that a man will have his cattle marked for sale at a late date, possibly at the end of the grass season, but he will have no certainty under this or any other section of the Bill that he is going to sell them at any price, not even at the minimum price. Grass cattle may, at a certain date, have deteriorated to such an extent that when the winter season sets in no butcher will want to buy them, marked or unmarked. In such a case, if cattle are marked for sale at a late date, the owner has no certainty that he will be able to sell them at the minimum price.

Take another case. The minimum price is to be fixed on a certain basis, whether by weight, hand or otherwise. The Minister said on the Second Reading that it would be by weight where there were facilities for weighing them, but that in other cases it would be by hand, or, to put it another way, by guesswork, the inspector or supervisor to determine the weight of the animal in that way. Some of us on this side of the House argued that to determine the weight of an animal by hand, in other words, by guesswork, was not a very easy matter. There are very few men in this country capable of accurately determining the weight of a beast by hand. I do not know if there is one. Some of the most prominent cattle buyers in the country will tell you that they could not do it, but in this Bill, in the absence of a weighing machine, an inspector or supervisor is to be the determining factor as to the weight of an animal.

Not under Section 23.

Section 23 fixes the basis of whether it is to be by weight, hand or otherwise. I am trying to argue what the consequences will be of fixing the weight by guesswork. If, by any possible chance, the inspector was a superman, and in determining the weight of the beast by hand arrived at a figure that was fairly correct, there is still no guarantee that the farmer can sell the beast, because when the butcher comes along he might say that the weight put upon the beast by the inspector is not correct, and there is no compulsion on the butcher to buy. If the butcher thinks that the weight of the beast has been overestimated, he will leave the beast severely alone. There is no compulsion on him or on anybody else to buy. He will not take the beast.

On this section somebody spoke about collusion. This leaves everything open to collusion. In some cases, if a man is to sell, he has got to have collusion with the butcher, but I am afraid he will not be able to have that because the butcher, bearing in mind the provisions of this measure, will be afraid to trade with him by any underhand means, fearing that the consequences of his action, or of his good nature if you like, may fall on him six or eight months afterwards; that he may be prosecuted for buying a beast under the stipulated weight. There is no guarantee whatever under this Bill that the owners of cattle are going to get even the minimum price. I doubt if it could be arranged as a certainty that they would get it, even if it were possible for the Minister or anybody else to so arrange it.

These are the two types of cases that I want to deal with particularly. The first is that of the man with grass cattle which may be marked for sale at a late date. He is not being given any security that he will be able to sell at any price. Then there is the case of the man who sells cattle by weight, the weight being determined by the inspector. It may be right or it may be wrong. There is no compulsion on the butcher to buy and it is almost certain that he will not buy if the cattle are graded an ounce too high. One thing is absolutely certain and it is this: that if a farmer does sell his cattle, the weight being determined by guesswork, he will sell them at a loss, because unless the beast is definitely graded at a less weight than it really is, no butcher will touch him, and if the error happens to be on the other side, the butcher will also leave the animal severely alone, so that the odds are against the farmer getting even the minimum price. This Bill aims at getting a certain minimum price for the farmer. What we want to see in it is the certainty that farmers will get that minimum price, but as the Bill stands there is no such certainty.

This section is a complete fraud. This is Fianna Fáil's gesture. By our tomfoolery over the last two years we wrecked the market for cattle and ruined the price for cattle, and now we are going to produce a fortune for every man out of a hat by fixing a price for cattle. It is popularly reported now by the exponents of Fianna Fáil doctrine that the cattle market in Great Britain is gone. It was not Fianna Fáil's fault at all. It was gone, and in any case there is no use looking for it. What are the facts? We were told by the President that the entire British market was gone, thanks be to God.

This section deals with the restrictions on the price of cattle and sheep and has nothing to do with our position in the British market.

Yes. This section is supposed to be the Fianna Fáil sop to the men whom they have beggared by destroying their market where they could get the value of their beasts on the open market without any fixation of price. The Minister himself admits that the price he is going to fix is the price ruling in the market that his folly keeps our cattle out of. This same Minister, having proclaimed to the world that the British market has gone, thanks be to God, is writing letters to the bacon factories of this country at the present time imploring them to ship all the bacon they can to the British market, or else——

The shipping of bacon to the British market is not relevant to this section, nor indeed to this stage of the Bill.

Surely I am entitled to make the case that as between the recovery of our markets, or this section which is for the fixation of prices, a far better remedy for the cattle trade of this country would be to get the market back, the open market on which we can get a price without the Minister proposing to fix prices.

This is the Committee Stage of a Bill. The established practice is that discussion on this stage is confined to the particular section before the House and it is not in order to discuss alternative markets or alternative measures.

Surely, Sir, I am entitled to argue on this section that, if the object of the section is to get a fair price for the farmer, there is a better method of doing this than that which is vouchsafed in this section.

On the Second Reading of the Bill the Deputy would have been entitled so to argue, but may not do so now.

The Deputy was on holidays then.

Am I to be precluded from criticising this as ineffective?

The Deputy is now disputing the ruling of the Chair.

The Chair rules that discussion of the British market as an alternative to the proposals set out in this section is not relevant.

Then I have no further concern in addressing the House.

I expected something better than personalities from the Minister in reply to the case I made. It ill becomes the Minister that when he is concerned he indulges in personalities. If I read economic journals I understand them.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think you do.

I do understand them. If I read medical journals I would understand medicine as well as the Minister.

Dr. Ryan

I do not quote them here.

No, because it would probably be beyond the Minister to quote them.

No personalities.

That is evidence of the fact——

The Deputy should return to the section.

The Minister ought to remember that this matter is of more importance than what I consider about it, or what he considers about it; of more importance than what I spend my spare time at, if I have any, or what he spends his spare time at. The price which he is going to fix for beef and mutton is of great importance to the whole economic position of the country. Eighty per cent. of all the stuff that can be produced in this country must be consumed as food for live stock. Eighty to 90 per cent. of the produce of the soil of this country —whether you plough it or whether you graze it; whether you are a tillage farmer like the Minister, who does not till; whether you are a rancher, as I am accused of being, but I till all; it does not matter which type of farmer you are, or what you produce —must be fed as animal food. The price that is fixed for those animals regulates the price——

Dr. Ryan

More world economics!

Yes, and it would be a good job for the Minister if he knew something about economics, and a good job for this country, too. More economics! If we had more economics and less of highfalutin cod like what we get from over there, it would be better for the country.

Dr. Ryan

And less talk!

And more work. The Minister's work, if he wants to work——

Dr. Ryan

When do you work?

Every day.

Dr. Ryan

The Corporation, the General Council, the County Council, the Dáil, and the Blueshirts!

I am able to find about £300 a week in wages, which all Fianna Fáil does not pay, and I have neither sought nor got any loans from any Government. It ill becomes the Minister to ask any Deputy when he works. As long as that Deputy pays his way, and carries on his business, he can look the world in the face. It shows the ignorance of the Minister who put up such a question.

Dr. Ryan

Only curiosity—not ignorance.


The Chair is curious about the section.

I do not look for curiosities. If I want to see curiosities I always have a few of them over there. The curiosity of the Minister for Agriculture——

The Deputy should take this Bill seriously.

I am taking it very seriously.

The country will not take you seriously.

Another industrialist is speaking.

Listen to big business!

The Minister will not accept the formula which I put up. I am going to repeat it. I asked him to refute the equity of it, and the only way he could do that was to indulge in personalities. Well, the public will know the difference. A very strong point made by Deputy Bennett here has not been replied to by the Minister. I will not repeat it, or ask the Minister to reply to it, if there is any other section on which it can be more appropriately raised, but I do not see any such section. I refer to the point about the surplus beef. We know that half our beef is surplus.

Dr. Ryan

Not at all.

When the Minister is operating for another year that half will not be surplus. We know that, because beef will not be produced. Half the beef is surplus, and the Minister knows that. He knows also that that was the basis of our discussion at the conference on the 19th January. More than half is surplus.

Dr. Ryan

58 per cent.!

Is surplus?

Dr. Ryan

That is what the Deputy says.

58 per cent. is surplus? Let it be anything you like; we will not go back to that any more. What is to be done with the surplus? I do not want to press the point if there is any other section on which it would be better to raise it.

Dr. Ryan

I think it could be raised on Section 39.

When do we get to that?

Dr. Ryan

In about 20 minutes.

It would be better if we never reached it.

You are doing your best.

Is the Minister satisfied that that would be the appropriate time to ask him how he proposes to use up the surplus?

I do not know whether the Minister is giving any information in connection with this section?

He cannot, the poor man.

Let us take sub-section (c) of this Section 23—"fixing the basis, whether by weight, by hand, or otherwise, on which the price of cattle is to be calculated." I take it that "fixing the basis" means the basis on which he made the calculation on the last section?

Dr. Ryan


How does the Minister expect to fix the basis by hand? How can that be done? I am sticking to the words of the section—"fixing the basis, whether by weight, by hand, or otherwise, on which the price of cattle is to be calculated." I take this section and this Bill as meaning that it is the intention of the Minister to use the powers which he has under the words which he puts in the Bill. I am just asking the Minister how he is going to fix the basis by hand? I do not see how the Minister can do it, and I should like an explanation.

Before the Minister replies I should like to say that I think the same thing is agitating everybody's mind. The Minister was understood to say in introducing this Bill that, generally speaking, there is throughout the country very little facility of any kind for selling cattle by weight. Most of the cattle, as the Minister knows, are sold by hand or on foot. A bargain is struck between the buyer and seller, and a price is placed on the weight as they guess it. Under this Bill they must either be bought by weight or by hand. Otherwise there must be a standard arrived at as to the weight or the price of a beast. I am sure the Minister had something in mind before these sections were drafted, and he might give us the benefit of the information. Deputies on all sides appear to be very much in the dark as to how this is to be done. If the sale is by weight I presume it will be per cwt. according to the market quotation. If by hand will it be by the height or girth? The price must have some basis, and while the Minister has talked of a fixed basis, he has not given any indication of what it will be. It is important that it should be known if there is to be a possibility of working the Bill. Sub-section (3) prescribes that in any bargain made the buyer and the seller can act only on the basis laid down. It will not be sufficient for a buyer to offer £5 or £10 for a beast. There must be a staple agreement based on something. I understand that some documents must be interchanged because a register of sales must be kept. The time-honoured custom of buying in the open market and coming to a perfect understanding is going to be ended by this section. In sub-section (4) there is a little matter introduced that might be made reciprocal. If a butcher buys a beast from a farmer or a grazier and gives less than the minimum price, he is, in the first place, committing an offence in doing so and, in the second place, the farmer can recover the difference between the price paid and the fixed price, as a civil debt. But supposing that the butcher paid too much, he is not able to recover the difference. In equity, this section ought to cut both ways, and if a man pays too much there should be some power to get back the difference. The whole section appears to want clarifying.

Dr. Ryan

I stated on the Second Reading that in cities and towns where there are facilities available weighing will be compulsory in the sale of cattle for slaughter. They will be sold by weight and the fixed price will be so much per cwt. There are areas where we know scales are not available, and for these we will have to make other regulations.

Machines are available in very few places.

Dr. Ryan

They are available in most of the big towns and in other places. We know that in the Department of Agriculture because we got particulars. Apart from that there are two ways of dealing with the matter. There is one way, letting an inspector go to the market and getting the butcher and the seller to agree to a certain weight. They will not have to make any bargain about the price. There will be a fixed price. The inspector will have to agree about the weight, or alternatively, he may wait until the beast is killed and have the deadweight, so that we would have a fixed price for dead as well as live weight. In the end it works out that the price will be by weight. We could not possibly have it by hand.

Why is "hand" in the Bill?

Dr. Ryan

That is necessary. A beast is technically sold by hand or sold, in the opinion of the inspector, at a certain weight.

Do I understand that inspectors will fix the price all the time?

Dr. Ryan

The Minister fixes the price.

I understood the Minister to say that the inspectors would do so.

Dr. Ryan

The inspectors give an opinion as to the weight when the sale is by hand.

You will want many more inspectors?

Dr. Ryan


Would an inspector not want to be present at the slaughter of every beast? The Minister stated that it would be principally by weight transactions would take place. I take it that all the cattle slaughtered will not be of the same weight?

Dr. Ryan


When an inspector comes along afterwards, how is he to know if one beast was 6 cwt. dead weight and another 8 cwt.? How can he turn round and say that the provisions of the Bill are being carried out? Will not the whole thing be open to grave fraud, if they are so inclined, on the part of butchers? What is to prevent a butcher saying that he had only two beasts weighing 6 cwt. each, when he might have one weighing 6 cwt. and another weighing 8 cwt.? I cannot see how the section can be properly carried out unless an inspector is always present to see that a particular beast is the beast that he had seen previously. I will give an example. I happen to be chairman of a mental hospital committee which made regulations——

Dr. Ryan

I hope the Deputy will never go down any lower.

I am satisfied with the position, whatever the Minister thinks. I have nothing to regret in connection with my association with the position I occupy there, and I think the Minister would be well advised to leave these cheap remarks out when we are discussing the Bill. I tried to keep to the section. It would be well if the Minister would do the same thing. I want to put the position to him as I see it. Regulations were made by that committee so that every beast should be sent in for inspection and a mark was put on it for identification purposes. If that was not done, nothing could prevent a beast being exchanged after inspection. The same thing could happen under this Bill.

Dr. Ryan

Supposing there are two farmers in question, A and B, having beasts weighing 6 cwt. and 8 cwt. respectively. Do you think the farmers would allow their beasts to be exchanged?

No, but the butchers could easily do so unless an inspector was present.

In the case of a beast being bought by dead weight, as far as I can see, it would be almost necessary for a farmer to be present at the weighing and killing. Otherwise he would have grave doubts in his mind that he was being "had." In the other case it would be unfair to the inspector. I see the Minister's point, and I agree that there is something in it, but I cannot see how any inspector could fulfil the task placed upon him. A sale may be by hand or by live weight. Many farmers have 20 or 30 cattle, and many have more. Men with 20 or 30 cattle will sell one or two at a time, and their neighbours will do the same, so that the poor inspector would be running day and night in order to carry out his duties properly. It would be impossible for him to do so, as the number of inspectors specified would not be sufficient to do the work.

Will the Minister consider the suggestion about getting back money when too much has been paid?

Dr. Ryan

That could hardly arise.

Dr. Ryan

It does not refer to this section.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 24 stand part of the Bill."

This section deals with restrictions on feeding and time of weighing. Sub-section (a) fixes the minimum time. Is the Minister going to do that by order, or is it to be a matter between the butcher and the vendor?

Dr. Ryan

I think this section is not of very great importance, but if we had not put it in, there might be a possibility of disputes. The butcher might say that the seller had given a feed to the beast before he brought it in, and that it was unfair that he should have to buy it by live weight. We will probably issue regulations so that a certain number of hours must elapse between feeding and weighing the beast in order to prevent disputes.

Would it not be a simpler way of settling disputes to quote the dead weight and live weight prices?

Dr. Ryan

The dead weight is more troublesome. We may have to attempt it in some cases.

Would it not be more troublesome to fix a time within which a beast should not be fed? If a flock of sheep come into Ballinlough how are you to know when these sheep stopped grazing along the roads, or how are you to know when they were taken off grass? Unless they were taken off grass within the prescribed number of hours before they started on the road, there will be a conflict with the regulations, whereas if a butcher says to an inspector that it is unreasonable to fix the live weight price for a beast, because the animal had just got a huge feed, the inspector will say that the equivalent dead weight price is so much, buy it at the alternative prices, live weight so much per cwt., dead weight so much per cwt.

Dr. Ryan

We very probably will.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 25 stand part of the Bill."

The question was raised as to whether the restriction on the place of slaughter meant that you could not have a slaughterhouse on the same premises as you had a shop for retail distribution. There is another section which makes provision that the business of slaughtering and distribution will not be carried on in the same place.

Dr. Ryan

That means they could be under the same roof, but not actually in the same room as it were.

Section 9 (3) says: "Premises registered in the register of slaughtering premises shall not be capable of being registered in the register of victualling premises" and vice versa. Is the Minister satisfied that the word “premises” there will not have a wider meaning than one apartment under a given roof? I have no doubt whatever that licensed premises means any part of the building in respect to which there is a licence to sell alcoholic liquor and to which there is free access from the licensed part. For instance, if you have a licensed house and a door freely communicating with the residential portion the whole house is licensed and the only way you could exempt the residential portion from the licence is to seal up the door and have two separate entrances. I submit that in this case you will find, unless extensive structural alterations are carried out in most of the existing butchers' shops, that no butcher will be able to get registration as a victualler and as a slaughterer in respect of the premises which he at present occupies.

Dr. Ryan

If the Deputy looks at Section 9 (2) (b) he will see it is provided that there shall be entered in the several registers "a description of the situation of the premises sufficient to identify such premises and the limits and extent thereof." So that the person can limit it if he likes to one room or one building, as the case may be.

The Minister for Finance can probably give us valuable information in this regard. I think I am right in saying that a licensed premises under the excise provisions is the whole structure under one roof which is accessible all through. Unless you have two separate entrances for two different parts of one house the whole house is licensed if any part of it is licensed. That will probably be the legal precedent followed in defining "premises." Sub-section (3) of Section 9 says: "Premises registered in the register of slaughtering premises shall not be capable of being registered in the register of victualling premises...." We know the Minister's mind and his intention and therefore I do not make a point on this, beyond saying that I think it is a matter the Minister should take counsel about between this and the time he will be dealing with this measure in the Seanad and, if necessary, introduce an amendment which will clearly define what is in his mind. I take it what is in the Minister's mind is that you cannot slaughter a beast on the floor of the shop.

Dr. Ryan

That is quite right.

Sub-section (3) of Section 25 says that an animal may be killed which is suffering from pain caused by injury or disease. What is to become of the meat of that animal? It cannot be sold.

Dr. Ryan

It can be sold.

That goes against the provisions of Section 20. Supposing it was an unmarked beast, will the person be allowed to sell the meat? Sub-section (a) of Section 20 says that a person cannot slaughter for human consumption any unmarked animal. The animal which met with an accident might not be marked.

Dr. Ryan

Section 20 says nothing about selling the meat. It says you cannot slaughter unless it is marked when the marking provisions are in force. If a beast breaks a leg, it can be brought in to the butcher to slaughter although not marked. There is nothing to say that he cannot sell the meat. There is nothing against that.

Sub-section (3) gives exemption in so far as the beast is suffering from pain as a result of injury or disease. I take it the court would hold that any beast suffering from a demonstrable disease would be presumed to be suffering from pain. Many tubercular beasts are not in the least and could not be demonstrated to be in any pain and are merely slaughtered for the purpose of protecting the rest of the herd.

Dr. Ryan

You must remember that if tuberculosis is demonstrable the animal would be condemned in another way. It would not be allowed to be used for human consumption. This refers more to injury.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 26 stand part of the Bill."

This deals with the power of the Minister to prohibit the export of cattle to an external market, and the only market which he ordinarily could prohibit us from exporting cattle to is the British market. It is true that he could prohibit us from exporting cattle to Germany, but I venture to say that it will require very little inducement to anybody who can sell his cattle anywhere else on the face of God's earth to refrain from selling cattle in Germany at the price Irish cattle command in Germany at the present time, and have commanded for the last two years. What strikes me particularly about this section is the commentary it affords on the powers the Minister has in connection with the bacon trade. We are told that this market, which he seeks power to prohibit us from exporting cattle to, is worthless, and at the moment he is telling us that he is sending us letters exhorting us to ship all the bacon we can during those months to the British market. Why? For fear we will lose it. I saw a letter from the Minister about a week ago saying that he besought every bacon factory to ship every available cwt. of bacon during the months of June, July and August.

On a point of order. Does this arise under this section?

I think it has already been indicated to the Deputy that references to the exports of bacon are not relevant to this Bill.

It was indicated to me that a certain argument I was making on Section 23 did not meet with the Chair's view of relevance, and I immediately abandoned it. We are now dealing with the power of the Minister to prohibit us from exporting to the British market.

Cattle and sheep, not bacon.

No, but I am drawing an analogy between the power he has to prohibit exports of other agricultural products, meat products, to the same market, and from that I am evolving an argument to suggest that it is an extremely erratic procedure for the Minister to ask powers to prohibit us from exporting the cattle.

A passing reference may be allowed, but I could not permit the development of an argument on those lines.

I merely want to place it on record that while the Minister is explaining the steps that may be necessary—even the prohibition of exports to this market are, according to him, justified because the market is of trivial value—at the same time he is telling us in private correspondence that we must ship every hundredweight of bacon we can, irrespective of the effect on the prices to the home consumer, in order to preserve this market that we are to value at the snap of our fingers when we come to consider Section 26 of this Bill. When you are face to face with a situation of that kind, when neither the Minister nor anybody else here knows what is in the Minister's mind, it becomes extremely difficult to evaluate a section of this character. If there were any constructive scheme in the Minister's mind and into that scheme he could fit the alleged necessity for this right to prohibit exports, one could consider it on its merits; but when you find that such powers are exercised and diametrically contradictory according to whatever political wind may be blowing, then you realise that to place such powers in the hands of the present Minister is nothing less than suicidal. I can remember the Minister telling us repeatedly that he was going to build up a structure here behind the bacon tariff which would make us absolutely independent of all the markets of the world. I have his letter before me now telling me that the whole future of the pig industry in this country depends upon that market.

The Deputy must not bring in the bacon industry by a side wind on this Bill.

The Minister is now asking us to give him power to prohibit exports of cattle. On Monday he will tell us he will prohibit all exports because the British market does not matter a rap; and on Tuesday he will be telling us that it is of vital urgency to ship every beast in order to fill the quota Great Britain is allowing us. When you are dealing with a man of that kind, with a weathercock mind, who makes one declaration on Monday and declares it to be the only patriotic thing one can do to lend a hand in starving John Bull into submission, and on Tuesday says the only patriotic thing is to ship all of this commodity one can lay hands on, it is nothing less than suicidal to give him the discretion he seeks in this section. If he wants to make orders prohibiting the export of cattle, let him get the consent of Dáil Eireann. I venture to say that when he does come to Dáil Eireann looking for an ad hoc resolution to prohibit the export of cattle or anything else, he will not be able to tell the reason why except that President de Valera sent him a message that this was the correct political gesture to make at the moment and that there was an obligation on him to exhort people to export agricultural produce to the extent of the quota. Unfortunately in this case the Minister had to send out a confidential circular and I am happy to be able to say that I have been able to expose it.

You got it off your chest.

Dr. Ryan

Deputy Dillon took the opportunity of making what he considered a very profound statement. The trouble with the Deputy is that he does not recognise consistency when he sees it. This is perfectly consistent with what we are doing in the bacon trade. We have talked about the British market having gone. I gave an illustration of what we meant by that. That market is going. We said that just the same as we say Cumann na nGaedheal has gone and Fine Gael has gone. They are going, but we say they are gone, and that is only an expression. It is the same way with the British market.

Then one is as true as the other?

Dr. Ryan

Just the same. The only thing is that I regret one as much as the other—just as much, because I think this place would then be very uninteresting.

Very dismal, if it is left to you.

Dr. Ryan

We have to appeal to the bacon curers because, if they do not keep up the quota, that part of the British market is gone.

Why do you not thank God for that?

Dr. Ryan

It is going week by week and we cannot hold it. It is the same with every other country—if they drop their quota, that part of it is gone.

And then it goes to Denmark.

Dr. Ryan

Denmark has been reduced just as much in the matter of bacon as we have been.

If we lose part of our quota, who will get it?

I have already told Deputies that this matter of bacon is irrelevant to the Bill.

Dr. Ryan

It may be necessary from time to time for the Minister to prohibit exports of cattle. As a matter of fact, the Minister has the power already, and on the 1st January last he used it.

And he soon stopped it.

Dr. Ryan

Then he made an order allowing them to export again. We want power now specifying a certain kind of cattle. We may think it suits us at certain times to export a certain kind of cattle, and it may suit us at times to export cattle from a certain area and through certain ports. There are parts of this country, such as the West and other distant parts, where the people are not getting rid of their cattle as quickly as places nearer the big ports.

That is good politics.

Dr. Ryan

We might say that no cattle will be allowed out except under licences, these licences being given to buyers in certain counties, and we might allow the cattle to go out only through certain ports.

And shout "Up de Valera."

Dr. Ryan

I know that is very galling on the Deputy—"Up de Valera." The terrible thing about it is that an increasing number every day are shouting "Up de Valera." Remember the 36 to 12 yesterday.

I understood from the Minister that it is his intention to send a certain number of buyers into certain parts of the Free State in order to export cattle out of certain counties, and this particular section gives him power to do that. I consider that is a very extraordinary power for the Minister to ask.

Dr. Ryan

I have that much power already.

To send men into any county you like?

Dr. Ryan


And prohibit the export of cattle from other counties and concentrate, say, on Kerry or Clare, and declare that no cattle are to be shipped out of this country except from a county which the Minister will name? You say you have that power already?

Dr. Ryan

I have that power already.

Have you exercised this power?

Dr. Ryan

No, but the one power I am looking for is so that I may say also you must take a particular class of cattle.

Under what Act have you got that power?

Dr. Ryan

Under the Export Quotas and Restrictions Act.

If the Minister restricts the right of certain countries, is it not possible that they may retaliate as in the case of the economic war? If the Minister interferes with the export of cattle he may stop the export of cattle altogether. He says that certain countries are subjected to these quota restrictions. I question that and I think if the Minister will look the matter up he will find there are certain limitations on the part of Britain in regard to these quotas.

The Minister told us that the object of this Bill was to dispose of our surplus cattle. One way that the Minister is going to dispose of them is to seek power to prohibit their exportation. England in her trouble to find markets in the East for her cotton trade had negotiations and conferences with Japan in the past 12 months. Their case was that they wanted fair play for the British cotton trade in the East. I wonder what the English public would think of a British Minister who would seek power from the House of Commons to limit their cotton export——

Mr. Ryan

What do we care what they think?

The slave mind does.

We care because of the tomfoolery that is going to ruin this country. We have something to sell.

You sold it.

A rat like you had nothing to sell.

Deputies must address the Chair, and must not address one another in the second person across the floor——

On a point of order.

Let the Minister keep order and not interrupt me.

Is Deputy Belton entitled to use the language he has used towards a Minister?

I did not catch the expression, so I do not know whether it is in order.

He used the word "rat" towards the Minister.

I did not hear it. If it was used it should not have been used.

The Minister for Agriculture does not care what the British are doing.

Dr. Ryan

I said I did not care about their opinion.

Neither do we here, but we do care what they are doing. We care for business deals in special transactions. It is a business proposition to find a market for our surplus cattle. So much has that agitated the Government and the country that the Bill we are now considering has been introduced to deal with the problem of our surplus cattle. Yet here we have a section in it in which the Minister asks for power to prohibit the export of cattle. That is the kind of gesture made. When the British announced, on the 20th September last, that there would be a quota reducing the numbers of Free State fat cattle in the following three months that Britain would allow in as compared with the previous year, our Minister for Agriculture, playing the strong man, retaliated by saying "We will give the British none." Of course, that joke did not last long. If it had lasted long, neither the Minister nor the Ministry would last long. They had to give way because there was no outlet, and the decision come to was that the Minister had to introduce this Bill. It is not in consequence of the tariffs, because on the preceding section he informed the House that this Bill was not dealing with tariffs at all, but with the quota position.

The Minister has not given any reason why he should seek such powers. England would not want such powers to prohibit the export of her cotton trade. France would not think of seeking powers to prohibit the export of wines or artificial manures. The German Government would not think of taking power to prohibit the export of iron or of coal or various other articles. Similarly, the American Government would not look for such powers. The one thing that we have to export is cattle, and the way we solve our problems in connection with it is that the Minister for Agriculture asks the House, solemnly, to prohibit the export of cattle. He told us in his speech on the Second Reading that what prompted him to introduce this Bill was to find a market for our surplus fat cattle, and then he asks for power to prohibit the export of fat cattle. I do not think that outside Grangegorman Mental Home there was ever heard such a proposal. However, it is all of a piece with the rest of the Bill. The Minister said he wanted power to prohibit the export of cattle from certain areas and to encourage it from other areas. The John Browns will be dug out, through his Bill, and the Attorney-General, who has just entered the House, will be able to supply whatever the Minister forgets, and the John Browns and the Paddy Killeens will again turn up. Of course, it is a good way to use economic distress for political advantage. If it were on the eve of an election, anyone that wanted to export cattle from Wexford or Wicklow would be facilitated.

Dr. Ryan

Or North City?

Yes, what about the North City?

Or North City? Yes, sure; and they do more farming in the North City than Deputy Donnelly ever did, and they have not so many broken gates on their farms as the Minister for Agriculture has on his.

Sections 26 and 27 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 28 stand part of the Bill."

Speaking on the section: power is given under this section to the Minister, wherever an export prohibition order is in force, to issue an export licence, if he so thinks fit, to any person to export a particular animal specified in the licence to which such export prohibition order applies. The brazen effrontery of the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been used repeatedly here in this House to meet reasonable representations in respect of the setting up of a register of licencees. That brazen effrontery has been used to assert that there was no good reason for the establishment of such a register. Would the Minister for Agriculture venture to maintain that a considerable amount of public dissatisfaction has not manifested itself in regard to the administration of the export licences for cattle that he has been administering for some time?

Dr. Ryan

I never heard a complaint.

The Minister says that he never heard a complaint?

Dr. Ryan

No, except a political complaint, and I have heard that kind of complaint from time to time.

The Minister will remember that this particular matter was raised in this House.

Dr. Ryan

Yes, but that was political.

The Minister explained on that occasion that it was very natural for anyone to imagine that undue discrimination was being displayed. He went on to say that after he had allotted licences in accordance with the powers given to him, a few were left over and that these had to be administered according to his own discretion. We are all aware that when cattle are seized and sold at a sheriff's auction the John Browns and others of that ilk get every facility for any export licences they may require.

Dr. Ryan

That is what has broken your heart.

It is hard to swallow that.

I do not care to say anything severe about bailiffs. Thanks to the Minister, they have found their homes in the ranks of Fianna Fáil and have learned to expect everything from Fianna Fáil, and are getting it. But the Minister will know that, whether his benevolence is being exercised on behalf of the bailiff or of his own political supporters, from a variety at least of his own supporters complaints have reached him about this. Again and again the Minister's attention must have been drawn to the trafficking that is going on in licences. He must be aware of cases where men sold those licences, for a consideration, to somebody else. His attention must have been drawn to the fact that it has been manifest to everybody that persons, who were notoriously supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party, could get, over and above whatever licences they were entitled to, a very substantial share of that surplus of licences which remained in the hands of the Minister for Agriculture. It is hardly necessary to explain that these individuals, who are getting that special consideration, did not come to me to tell me about it. The only source of information to which I can apply is the people who did not get licences.

Dr. Ryan

And they are able to tell you a lot of lies.

I do not pass judgement on the matter.

Dr. Ryan

Oh, no!

All I ask the Minister to do is this: to take the reasonable course, in order definitely to allay for all time public suspicion in this matter, of making a register of the exporters' licences and making it possible for every public man to say to everybody who comes with a complaint that his neighbour is getting a surplus of licences while he has been denied a licence:—"Go out and look at the register and, if you can furnish the facts to me showing that that is so, I will raise the matter in the Dáil and have it fully thrashed out." That is the only possible way of making an end of that kind of thing. At present a man comes to me in Donegal and says: "I have applied for licences again and again and have got, perhaps, two; yet I met So-and-So in the fair, who never shipped a beast, and he has got a dozen or twenty licences, and he was selling licences in the fair." There is no use in my going and asking the person concerned if that is true or not. I have no means of finding out. The only possible thing I can do is to raise it here in the House. I shall be told by the Minister that these are general charges, and I shall be asked to state the full particulars and they will be investigated; but the full particulars are not investigated.

The Deputy said that he had particulars two days ago.

Not in relation to what we are discussing.

Not on licences.

I am referring to the licences in relation to this particular Bill.

I regret, Sir, that I have been led into disorder by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am simply asking the Minister for Agriculture to provide everybody with a weapon whereby they may allay suspicion or misapprehension in regard to those licences. That weapon is to prepare and make public a register in which there would be a record of everybody's licences. In that way, everybody will know what is being done, and if a man goes into the cattle exporting business he will know that that information will be available to everybody in the trade, and he will know, having gone into the business willingly, that there will be a public register of his transactions and that he is liable to have the matter of the licences granted to him raised, by name, here in this House, and that the Minister will be questioned as to why somebody got licences when his neighbour did not get them. If that were done, the Minister would be able to say that if So-and-So wants additional licences, he has got to remember that if he gets them the matter, almost certainly, will be raised in Dáil Eireann, and his business thrashed out across the floor of the House. The Minister also would have the added relief that anyone, who would attempt to approach him with a corrupt proposal for more licences than he is entitled to, would know that there was no use in asking him, because all the licences have to be recorded on a public register where everybody can examine them.

I have warned the Minister that so long as these transactions in connection with the issue of licences are hidden under a veil of secrecy, so long will there be public distrust and public suspicion; and that the only remedy and the only way to allay that suspicion and that distrust is to give full publicity to every licence issued and to the conditions attaching thereto. This licensing provision under Section 28 is more drastic than any I have seen so far, because in this case the Minister may, "whenever an export prohibition order is in force, if he so thinks fit, issue to any person a licence in the prescribed form to export a particular animal specified in such licence to which such export prohibition order applies, and may attach to such licence such conditions and limitations (including conditions as to the route by which the animal is to be exported) as the Minister shall think proper and shall specify in such licence."

Is it necessary to elaborate the urgent necessity of making the terms and conditions of licences that will be issued under that section public? Suppose a shipping company gets into some labour trouble and their cattle shipments fall off for some entirely ulterior reason, the first thing that will spring to their mind is that the Labour Party have brought pressure to bear upon the Minister for Agriculture, to impose a condition that cattle will be shipped by another route and the Minister will be immediately put upon his proof; whereas if the conditions attaching to the licence are published in a public register, no such suspicion for such a thing could exist. I throw that out as one conceivable occasion of misapprehension. There are thousands of such. Passing this section, as it is, will breed distrust, suspicion and apprehension of corruption through the country. I press the Minister most strongly that he should see that the fullest publicity should be given to the terms upon which these licences are issued. In the event of such publicity being given the major objection falls to the ground.

Will the Minister inform the House as to how he proposes to allocate those licences in the future? This matter was referred to by Deputy Dillon to-day, and I put it to the Minister yesterday that a register of these licences should be kept and that it should be open for inspection. In January last the Minister agreed that it was demonstrated to him that it was possible and practicable to issue those licences to the feeders. He agreed to give the licences to the feeders later on. Will he agree now that in future under this Bill, when it becomes an Act, that the feeders will get the licences? I do not see anywhere in this Bill where the price is fixed for export. I would be glad to know if any provision is made in this Bill for it? I have not seen any. Supposing the exporter, the dealer gets a licence as dealers get them now. We know that licences are being trafficked in in County Armagh. Does the Minister deny that?

Great traffic!

I do not know whether the ambassador from Armagh here is responsible for sending these licences to Armagh. But they are there to be bought at a price as the Minister boasted yesterday. English shippers are getting the licences. Is there any condition attaching to the licences that these shippers get or is there a condition that they will have to pay the minimum price for the cattle. I do not see that anywhere in the Bill. I would be glad to be informed if it is there. I have not seen it. We will have a surplus of fat cattle.

The Deputy has told us that he has not seen it in the Bill. Is that needless repetition?

What is the matter with the Minister for Finance? Will the Minister for Finance become audible? Surely there is no subject on which he can better exhibit his ignorance than on agriculture.

Will Deputy Belton come to deal with the section?

Dr. Ryan

Let him exhibit his ignorance.

Neither the Minister nor his colleague will divert me from the point with which I am dealing. Perhaps they would be glad if they could.

They would like to.

They would like to, but neither can Deputy Smith divert me. There will be a separate stock of fat cattle. Licences will not be given to the producer. Licences will be distributed with the same sleight of hand, the three card trick business. Exporters will get them. They are not buying cattle for sale and when they are not buying cattle for sale they are not bound by any conditions. To buy those cattle the Minister accommodates them with licences and they can buy them at any price. That is the position as I read the Bill. That is not the end of it. I would like if the Minister would point out where in this Bill is any control over the price except in the case of the price of cattle that will be bought for slaughter here. Even though the beast is marked, that beast could not be killed until, say, the 1st of September next and not before. It will be an offence to sell it to the butcher and it will be an offence for the butcher to buy that beef for slaughter before the 1st of September.

We are dealing with Section 28.

I am dealing with the export licences.

There is nothing about slaughter in that section.

I am dealing with the facilities given to the exporters— facilities that are not given to the consumers at all, and I am dealing with the method in which those licences will be handed out.

This section deals with the issue and the method of issue of export licences and nothing else.

These licences are issued following presumably present practice. Presumably they will be issued to the dealers who are not controlled by the Bill, and who will make what they made last January and the half of February—fabulous profits. I would like that an assurance from the Minister would be issued to the producers and to the producers only. The Minister has no way out of that position but to issue them to the producers. In order to have the thing done fairly and equitably, there should be a register kept in the Minister's Department, and that register should be open to inspection by anybody who wanted to inspect it so as to see who got the licences. That will be a test of the sincerity and the anxiety of the Minister in administering the Act fairly to all citizens. Will the Minister keep such a register? He has no case whatever for continuing to give licences to the shippers. When we met him on the 19th of January in his own office or in the boardroom of the Department of Agriculture——

What has this to do with the section before the House?

Will the Deputy read the section?

What has the Deputy's speech to do with the section?

I am just waiting to see the Deputy's point.

Dr. Ryan

How often is the Deputy to be allowed to repeat himself?

As often as the Chair thinks it is pertinent to the discussion.

The Minister agreed that it was the producer who should get the licences, and he put that into practice a month after. When the summer came he said it was impracticable to give licences because it was impossible to take a census of the cattle on the land which were then fit for slaughter. This Bill provides him with the machinery by which he will know at any moment the number of cattle ready for slaughter, the number of cattle permitted to be slaughtered, or the number of cattle fit for slaughter. So the case is perfect, and there is no way out for the Minister but to give these licences to producers. Then if the producer sells for slaughter, that is controlled by the Act. He must sell at the minimum price. Anyhow it is his funeral to sell at any price he likes. He will get the value of the licence, and in no other way is he going to be assured of a price——

I told the Deputy before that this section dealt with the licences and the method of issuing licences. There is nothing about price in this section.

I am dealing with the method of issuing the licences, and the only method that would be equitable to the producer would be to issue the licence to him.

Reverting to the matter of prices, as the Deputy is inclined to do, is not relevant to the section.

There is no use in making a statement as to why a certain thing should be done if I do not support it with solid reasons. On the one hand, if the licence is issued to the dealer, there will be no control price for the dealer buying fat cattle for export. He can buy them at any price he likes. He is not controlled by the minimum price, therefore he is going to buy them by robbing the producer, and his instrument in robbing the producer will be the licence issued by the Minister. He makes his extra profit by selling in the Birkenhead market from which the Minister starts to fix his price. The only equitable way to allot licences is to allot them to the producer. That licence gives the producer a permit to offer for sale for export, with the passport into the British market tied on the beast's horn, or he can export the beast himself to the British market, and he can get there the basic price on which the Minister builds up his price for the home market. On any grounds you want to take this section, the continuance of the Minister's method of issuing these export licences to anybody but the producer, has nothing to sustain it. The only argument that the Minister was able to put up for the change over——

A Leas Chinn Chomhairle——

Is the Minister getting up to a point of order?

Yes. I think there is a Standing Order which states that a Deputy who is guilty of needless repetition, irrelevancy, or obstructing the business, should be asked to resume his seat. The Deputy has got 25 minutes on this section. The purport of his speech, I gathered, was to restrict the issuing of licences by the Minister to feeders only. If the Deputy seriously intended that point to be discussed, he has had sufficient time, I submit, within the past four days to have put down an amendment to the section compelling the Minister to do that, but he has not done so. On the last section nearly half an hour was occupied by the discussion, and at the end the section was not challenged, even though the Minister did not reply. I think the Deputy is obviously trying to obstruct the business of the House.

That is only the Minister's opinion. It is the opinion of nobody else.

It is my opinion too. It is a penance listening to you.

Of course, the Chair must be the judge of whether there is unnecessary repetition.

There was no unnecessary repetition. If we had not the unnecessary interruption from the Minister for Finance, I was just about to conclude. I have made my point. I have supported it by arguments, and have shown the reason why certain people should get licences in preference to anybody else. The Minister agreed that these people should get the licences last January.

We heard that before.

This Bill provides the Minister with machinery that he had not had at that time or that he had not had when he changed the system in April or May. There is no excuse left for the Minister. I should like to hear him as to whether it is his intention to give licences to the feeders in future, both winter and summer. If the licences are not given to the feeders, what control will this Bill exercise over the shippers to pay the minimum price for fat cattle?

Dr. Ryan

If the Deputy had asked that question in the beginning and waited for a reply, we would have saved 25 minutes. We can fix the price for the exporters.

Under what section?

Dr. Ryan

Under this section. If the Deputy read the section instead of making a 25 minutes speech we would get on much more quickly. He makes his 25 minutes speech——

Quote the section.

Dr. Ryan

The section states:

"Whenever an export prohibition order is in force, the Minister may, if he so thinks fit, issue to any person a licence .... in the prescribed form to export a particular animal specified in such licence to which such export prohibition order applies, and may attach to such licence such conditions and limitations .... as the Minister shall think proper."

I can put in a condition that he must pay the same price as is paid for home beef. If the Deputy had sat down after asking that question, we would have been saved 25 minutes, because all the rest of his speech was ráméis, but, of course, he wanted to make his usual 25 minutes speech.

The long distance man.

Dr. Ryan

Why does the Deputy, like Deputy Curran or any other Deputy, not ask his question first and then make his speech? He wants to be sure, of course, to make his speech at all costs. We can fix a price for the exporters.

Why, then, do you ask for powers in the Bill to fix a price definitely for home consumption when you can by order fix the price for export? I question it very much. It is only an afterthought of the Minister's, because I raised the point now.

The Minister must be heard without interruption.

Dr. Ryan

The Minister may have afterthoughts, but the Deputy has fore-thoughts—speaking before he knows anything about the question. If the Deputy ever became Minister for Agriculture, which God forbid——

I know I would be a better Minister than a broken-down doctor.

Dr. Ryan

——he would go to the draftsman and say: "I do not know exactly what I want, but you can draft the Bill," but I go to the draftsman and I tell him exactly what I want, and the draftsman puts it in that way. I am not the draftsman, but he knows what I want. One does not need to be a draftsman, however, to understand this section.

You cannot show me where you are given power to fix a price for the exporter.

Dr. Ryan

I can attach any condition I like to any licence I issue, including a condition as to prices.

Show us in this Bill where you get authority to fix a price for the exporter.

The Minister must be heard without interruption.

Dr. Ryan

"The Minister may attach to such licence any conditions," and Part II of the conditions may have reference to the price. I can issue a licence to a man, saying: "You can buy 50 fat cattle on this for export, but you must pay 25s. per cwt., and that is part of the conditions of the licence." In any case it is not necessary to fix the price. That is another thing. If the home butcher is paying 25s. per cwt. for fat cattle, how is the exporter going to get cattle at a lesser price? It is not necessary at all. We come then to the point as to why we should go to the trouble of issuing all these licences to dealers other than the ordinary exporter who can do the business better. The ordinary exporter has connections on the export market. He can get a better price for these cattle than the feeder would. If the feeder gets just as good a price, why should we give out the licences to the feeders?

The method of distribution will be as I explained last night. The Consultative Council on the Export-of-Cattle Quota, in consultation with me, lays down a certain basis on which these licences are issued. That basis will still be used. Any member of that Consultative Council who has any complaint to make about the issue of licences to any particular person can find out what that particular person is getting. At their meetings, they have a look at the register. They bring in a list of the complaints they receive. They find out what the person concerned has got, and not one of them has yet found an irregularity. They always find that the licences are given on the basis drawn up by them in consultation with me.

I should like to know what is meant by the "conditions and limitations" which the Minister may impose.

Dr. Ryan

I could, for instance, say that cattle must be exported direct to Britain by sea rather than by rail and sea. I might even say that they must be exported from a particular port. If we wanted, for instance, to get Kerry cattle bought, we might say that they must go by a special port.

Had you ever these powers before?

Dr. Ryan

No, and these are the only additional powers I am seeking. I can specify certain classes of cattle for a certain port.

Some of these are extraordinary powers.

Dr. Ryan

I know you will give them to me.

The Minister said he can issue licences and attach to them any conditions as to price that he likes. I question if he has that power and he is certainly not asking for it in this Bill. Why should he have power to fix a price below the minimum price paid here? Does the Minister claim that he will have power under this Bill to fix an export price before he fixes a minimum price for beef in the home market? He goes along childishly and says that there is no need to fix a price because when the home butcher will have to pay, say, 25/- a cwt., the exporter will have to compete with him and pay that price. I think I am quoting the Minister with substantial accuracy.

Dr. Ryan

Quite correct.

Does not the Minister know that there are two beasts offering for every one that the home butcher wants? Is not the problem which gave rise to this Bill that there are too many fat cattle for home consumption?

Dr. Ryan

We are dealing with that.

The Minister says that because the home butcher wants one beast and must pay 25/- a cwt., the exporter who comes along must compete with that butcher, although there may be two, three or four beasts offering. If you had two butchers or dealers endeavouring to get the same beast, there would be competition in price but when you have three or four beasts and only two buyers there will be no competition.

Dr. Ryan

If that is so, we will fix the price.

Where is the power to fix an export price?

Dr. Ryan

Sub-section (1), Section 28.

There is not one word about price in that sub-section.

Dr. Ryan

It refers to the imposition of conditions and limitations in connection with the licences.

You thought it necessary to refer specifically in that section to the route, but the part of Hamlet— the price—is left out. When dealing with purchases for the home market, whole sections were devoted to the regulation of prices, but nothing is said here about export prices.

Dr. Ryan

It is a pity you did not study law in addition to other things.

I have enough commonsense to read an ordinary document and discuss it. The Minister is not going to get out of this corner with back answers. He cannot point to any part of the Bill in which he has got this authority. He will not give licences to the producers. He will give them to the shippers, as he is doing at present. Then the shippers can come in on a glutted market and pay any price they like for the surplus stock. That is the Minister's only solution of the quota problem, and no remedy is being provided in respect of the surplus fat cattle.

We are dealing, on this section, with the issue of export prohibition orders, and are concerned only with licences pertaining to the prohibition period. I do not anticipate that these prohibition orders will be put into force very often. I think that the number of licences to be issued during the currency of these prohibition orders will not be very great. There may be some point in what Deputy Belton said, that if the Minister is only going to issue an export prohibition order when it is necessary to keep the cattle in the country, he will issue licences to export only in exceptional circumstances. The licences will not be general. If that be so, there will be an advantage given to some person or persons. It is obvious that the general run of exporters would not get licences in such circumstances or there would be no need for a prohibition order at all. I do not know how that could be obviated. There would have to be some discrimination. As regards price, when I first read the section I did not perceive that the Minister had power to fix export prices. The section deals with the power of the Minister to issue licences for export when a prohibition order is in force and I took it that the section merely purported to regulate the manner in which these licences would be issued. That is what the reading of the section conveyed to my mind, as I think it would convey to the mind of the ordinary man. The fact that the provision as to specifying the route by which animals might be exported was put in parenthesis rather suggested to me that it was regarded as something extraneous to the provisions of the section, which had to do merely with the issue of licences. As I am admitting that the Minister has power to fix prices——

It is not in the Bill.

Perhaps Deputy Belton would leave that to the House to decide.

There is a reference in the section to "conditions and limitations" which the Minister may attach to the issue of licences. He might think it proper to provide for the payment of certain prices. I suggest that the matter should be made clearer and that an addendum should be made to this section so that it would be in this form: "including conditions as to the route by which the animal is to be exported and the price to be paid for the animal." If the Minister would make that addition, I think he would be making it clear that he was going to safeguard the price.

Would the Minister make clear the position of shippers, and losses that they may sustain. How would they stand if there was a bad market in England for fat cattle, and that they had to pay the fixed price and also the tariff on the cattle? What would their position be if they were not able to make their money in England? Would the Minister take their position into account?

Dr. Ryan

I take it that these people very often buy cattle here and do not know what price they are going to get in England for them. They make sure to make up their losses the next time. The same thing happens in the case of men who buy pigs. At the time that they come to sell the bacon on the British market the price of bacon there may have gone down. In order to make up their losses they fall the price of pigs. We are in the same position. We could not make up to a shipper for the losses that he would have on particular animals. We would have to watch the British market closely, and if prices come down there we would have to come down in our fixed prices. We cannot make up to the shipper for the loss that he has sustained.

But he has to pay the full price.

Dr. Ryan

I know, but does he not pay the fixed price now, in effect? He pays whatever the market price is.

Will the Minister make the addendum that I spoke of?

Dr. Ryan

I will take a note of it.

Section 28 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 29 stand part of the Bill."

On the section, is it clear that a butcher can make sausages, corned beef, etc., from meat products without a licence?

Dr. Ryan

In the definition section the expression "marketable product" includes meat preserved in a barrel, tin, jar, or other container, but does not include fresh meat or meat preserved and sold otherwise than in a container. Under that definition corned beef would be exempt.

What about sausages, pressed beef, etc.?

What are sausages made of?

Dr. Ryan

Unless they are sold in a container they would not be a "marketable product."

The Minister understands the way that a butcher handles the products of a beast in order to get rid of them. Would he require to have a manufacturer's licence for that?

Dr. Ryan


Is the Minister certain that a sausage would not be included? As well as meat you have other ingredients in it.

In Cork they are very fond of drisheen, which is made of blood.

Dr. Ryan

Meat sausages are not sold in a container.

Would black puddings come under the section?

Dr. Ryan

No, unless sold in a bottle.

Or tripe?

Sections 29, 30 and 31 agreed to.
(1) It shall be lawful for the Minister to engage in and carry on all or any of the following businesses ...
(2) For the purpose of engaging in or carrying on any business authorised by this section, the Minister may do all or any of the following things ...
(3) It shall be lawful for the Minister to so anything which he is authorised by this section to do either, ...

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 10:—

In sub-section (1), after the word "Minister" to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 11:—

In sub-section (2) after the word "Minister" to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 12:—

In sub-section (3), to delete the word "so" where it occurs in the first line of the sub-section and to substitute the word "do."

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (3), to add at the end of the sub-section the words "but the Minister shall give to every such officer and person a statement in writing defining his duties and the extent of his authority."

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 32, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

On the section I want to say this: We have been discussing certain restrictions that are to be placed on butchers and other classes of business people. They are being restricted in their trade as to what they may and may not do. Under this particular section we are giving power to the Minister himself to do all the things that any ordinary trader may not do. I just want to call the attention of the House to that: that the Minister himself is being empowered to do all the things that an ordinary trader is being prohibited from doing. The position, therefore, is that to-morrow the Minister may set up in various classes of business which traders are to be debarred from carrying on. He is to have a monopoly of certain classes of business. It is only fair, I think, that the House generally should understand that, and that Deputies should realise that they are voting definitely to place such powers in the hands of the Minister or of any future Minister.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 33 agreed to.
(1) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, sell any land acquired by him under this part of this Act and also the goodwill and stock-in-trade and other assets of any business carried on by him under this part of this Act at such price as he shall, with the consent aforesaid, think proper.
(2) Any moneys received by the Minister on a sale under this section shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer...

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 14:—

In sub-section (1), after the word "sell" to insert the words "lease, let or otherwise dispose of."

There is a provision similar to this in the Cereals Bill. For instance, the Minister, having taken over some land, might consider that some ordinary commercial individual might carry on the business as well as he would, or, perhaps, better, and he might be inclined to sell or lease or dispose of the land for the purpose. Amendment No. 15, which follows, is consequential and amendment No. 16 is also consequential.

Amendment No. 14 agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 15:—

In sub-section (1), after the word "price" to insert the words "and on such terms and conditions."

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 16:—

In sub-section (2), to delete the words "on a sale."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 34, as amended, agreed to.
(2) The accounts of the Minister in respect to every business carried on by him under this Part of this Act shall, at the end of every accounting year for such business, be audited and be subject to a report by a duly qualified auditor appointed annually by the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, and the fees of such auditor and the expenses generally of such auditor shall be part of the expenses of carrying on such business.
(3) Upon the completion of an audit under this section of the accounts of any business carried on by the Minister under this Part of this Act, the Minister shall cause a copy of the balance sheet and profit and loss account as passed by the auditor and a copy of the auditor's report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 17:—

In sub-section (2), to delete from the word "audited" to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words "transmitted to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, who shall audit, certify and report upon such accounts."

A provision similar to this has been inserted in the Cereals Bill

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 18:—

In sub-section (3), to delete the word "auditor" and substitute the words "Comptroller and Auditor-General," and to delete the word "auditor's" and substitute the word "his."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 35, as amended, agreed to.
(1) All profits made in carrying on any business under this Part of this Act shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such a manner as the Minister for Finance may direct.
(2) All expenses incurred in carrying on any business under this Part of this Act shall, in so far as they are not discharged out of the earnings of such business, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 19:—

In sub-section (1) to delete the words "profits made," and substitute the words "moneys received by the Minister."

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 20:—

In sub-section (2) to delete the words "in so far as they are not discharged out of the earnings of such business," and substitute the words "to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance."

This is also a consequential amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 36, as amended, put and agreed to.
(1) It shall be lawful for the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to lend, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, any sum or sums of money—
(a) to any person engaged in or carrying on any business to which this section applies, for the purpose of extending or developing such business, whether by the acquisition of additional premises, the installation of new or additional machinery, plant, or equipment, or in any other way whatsoever, or
(b) to any person, for the purpose of the acquisition of any then existing business to which this section applies and the subsequent extension or development of such business in any such way as aforesaid, or
(c) to any person, for the purpose of the promotion and formation of a company having amongst its objects the carrying on of a business to which this section applies.
(2) All moneys lent by the Minister under this section shall be so lent on such terms and conditions as to time and manner of repayment, rate of interest, security, and other matters as the Minister shall, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, think proper in each particular case.
(3) The terms on which money is lent by the Minister under this section may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, include a provision for the refund by the Minister out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, to the person to whom or the company for the promotion and formation of which such money is so lent of statutory fees thereafter becoming payable by such person or company.
(4) All moneys received by the Minister in repayment of moneys lent by him under this section or in payment of interest on or otherwise in relation to any such moneys shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer by the Minister in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall direct.
(5) Whenever the Minister has lent any money under this section it shall be lawful for the Minister to do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—
(a) with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to vary in any manner all or any of the terms and conditions on which such money was so lent;
(b) with the consent aforesaid, to compound for or wholly release all or any part of such moneys or of any interest or other payment payable on or in relation to such moneys;
(c) to take such steps (including legal proceedings) as the Minister may think proper to compel payment of or to recover all or any part of such moneys or of any interest or other payment payable on or in relation to such moneys or to enforce compliance with any term or condition on which such moneys were so lent.
(6) This section applies to any business of manufacturing or preparing for human consumption or for any other purpose any marketable produce from the carcases, offals, or other parts, edible or inedible, of cattle and sheep or either of them.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 21:—

In sub-section (3), after the word "include" to insert the words "all or any of the following provisions, that is to say:—(a)," and at the end of the section to add two paragraphs as follows:—

"(b) a provision requiring or empowering the Minister to purchase, either at any time or in specified circumstances, all or any part of the issued share capital of a company for the promotion and formation of which such money is so lent;

(c) a provision whereby the Minister agrees to supply cattle, either free of charge or on specified terms, to the person to whom or the company for the promotion and formation of which such money is so lent."

This is an amendment which is necessary under this particular section, so that we can vary the investment from loan to shares issued, or make other arrangements with a company to whom we may have issued debenture, or lent money in any way. We may subsequently convert that into shares.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 37, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Under this section the Minister can lend money to any person engaged in any business to which this section applies. He can vary the conditions of the loan after the loan has been made. He can vary the rate of interest. He can vary the time of payment. He can vary the sum to be repaid. He can remit the whole thing. I wonder is it good business to give up the credit of the State which we hear so much about. General O'Duffy was taunted with being responsible for the failure of the National Loan. If we are contemplating the issue of a National Loan is this the way to do business? We borrow, and we lend the money to people on certain conditions. After the money has been lent —to very wild cat schemes too—on certain conditions, we can vary those conditions after the contract has been signed. If we lend State money, at a rate even lower than we pay for the money, we can remit the interest altogether. We can even remit the principal altogether. This is the power which is sought in this section. It is a monstrous proposal.

Dr. Ryan

A Chinn Chomhairle, the Deputy perhaps does not realise that when the Minister makes an agreement it is extremely difficult to make any alteration afterwards. When a private individual or a banker makes a loan and the person comes along in 12 months afterwards and says "I cannot pay on a particular date, but if you extend the period for a year longer I will be all right," the alteration may be made. The Minister is in a very difficult position in regard to a variation like that unless he has the power. That is really what the power is for. We will not, of course, make the variation unless there is agreement between the two parties. The agreement of course in all cases is likely to be for a relaxation, because the other party is not likely to ask for more severe terms. If the other party asks for a relaxation or an extended period then by this section we have the power to make the variation.

I quite see the difficulty which the Minister would be up against. When somebody who has fallen on bad times comes to the Minister, he would like to help him out. But let us see how this reads:—

"Whenever the Minister has lent any money under this section it shall be lawful for the Minister to do all or any of the following things, that is to say:

(a) With the consent of the Minister for Finance, to vary in any manner all or any of the terms and conditions on which such money was so lent;

(b) with the consent aforesaid, to compound for or wholly release all or any part of such moneys or of any interest or other payment payable on or in relation to such moneys;

(c) to take such steps (including legal proceedings) as the Minister may think proper to compel payment of or to recover all or any part of such moneys ..."

The Minister is asking for power to lend money and forgive it if he likes?

Dr. Ryan

That is right.

Is that good business? You or I would not do it with our own money.

Dr. Ryan

If the person cannot pay, what can we do?

Then is that the sort of person to whom the Minister will lend State money?

Dr. Ryan

I will try not to.

Well if the Minister is afraid of that, it shows that his business foresight is bad.

I think the power asked for by the Minister in this section is altogether too drastic. As pointed out by Deputy Belton, he may vary in any manner the terms and conditions under which money is lent, after the arrangements have been made to lend that money. As Deputy Belton also said, he is looking for power from this House to lend money, and at the same time he is looking for power from the House to forgive it if he wants to. That is a power which the Minister, or any other Minister, should not seek from this House. If the occasion arises that the Minister is not able to collect the money, he could seek for power then, but it is not right that he should look for power to lend money, and at the same time look for power to forgive it. I cannot see why he should seek such powers, or why legislation should be so devised as to give the Minister the powers which he seeks under this section. I certainly will not agree to it. I will challenge a division if I cannot get any better explanation.

I really cannot see why this section should be inserted at all. It is a section which is absolutely unbusiness-like, and I do not think it will ever be necessary. I cannot see the Minister ever using it. If there is any necessity to forgive or wipe out a loan there are ordinary channels through which it can be struck off as irrecoverable, or wiped out in some such manner. The powers asked for are very wide, if they were interpreted strictly, and put into force strictly. I am not concerned so much about the forgiving part of it, because I do not think that would ever be put into operation, but I am concerned with the powers for increasing the rate. Having lent somebody money at 4 per cent. for a period of ten years you might come along next day and say, "I will charge you 6 per cent. and you must pay in three years." I do not say the powers will be used.

Dr. Ryan

Of course, you cannot break the agreement without the consent of the other party.

Has any Minister at any time sought similar powers?

The sub-section says "... it shall be lawful for the Minister to do all or any of the following things." I take that as meaning that he is now taking power to do all or any of those things.

Dr. Ryan

Not to break an agreement.

"It shall be lawful for the Minister to do all or any of the following things." If the Minister wants to make it strict he might insert "not" and add "otherwise than by agreement." I am not concerned so much with the releasing of people from obligations, because I do not believe that could be done except under exceptional conditions. I should like to see some addendum inserted in regard to those varying powers—something to this effect: "Other than increasing the interest or reducing the period of the payment." I should like to see some safeguard in the section to satisfy me in that respect; otherwise I have no desire to change the section very much, because I do not think it will ever be used. Even with the addendum I do not think it will be used, and the proper method would be to wipe out the section altogether.

Dr. Ryan

If the section were wiped out I would not have power to lend money at all for those purposes.

I meant that the sub-section should be wiped out.

Dr. Ryan

I am convinced of that. But I will make sure and if necessary propose an amendment, if not here, in the other House, on that point.

To what effect.

Dr. Ryan

To the effect that I cannot break an existing agreement without the other person's consent.

It would be very desirable.

Dr. Ryan

I think the section is all right as it is.

Question put and agreed to.
Distribution of beef to certain classes of persons.
In this Part of this Act—
the word "recipient" means a person who is in receipt of unemployment assistance or of outdoor relief or home assistance or of both such unemployment assistance and such outdoor relief or home assistance,
the expression "unemployment assistance officer" has the same meaning as it has in the Unemployment Assistance Act, 1933 (No. 46 of 1933),
the expression "assistance officer" means an assistance officer within the meaning of the County Board of Health (Assistance) Order, 1924.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment 22:—

Before Section 38, but in Part 8, to insert a new section as follows:—

Whenever, under a scheme whereby compensation is payable out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas for cattle slaughtered or surrendered for slaughter in pursuance of such scheme, the Minister becomes possessed of any cattle (whether alive or dead), it shall be lawful for the Minister to dispose of such cattle in whatever manner he shall think proper.

I thought there was power in the Bill to do this but it is doubtful if there is power to dispose of cattle under the circumstances. I stated several times that old cows for making meat are worth very little in ordinary circumstances and naturally if we were to buy them we would have to give more than we could afford to give. The system we propose to work would be to buy these old cows from farmers at 50/- or £3 and sell them to the factory for very much less.

Does the Minister contemplate fixing a price for all old cattle for meat meal?

Dr. Ryan

No. But anyone who has cows worth not more than £3 might send them along and I could take them. If they were worth more than that they could keep them.

So that it is open to a farmer to get all he can for them. If your price is £3 you are bound to £3.

Dr. Ryan

If the farmer gets more he can do so.

I hope the Minister will pay the Minister for Finance £1 per head for these old cows.

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 23:—

After the word "means" where it first occurs in the section to insert in brackets the words ("subject to the provisions of this section.")

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 24:—

To add at the end of the section two new sub-sections as follows:—

(2) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, at any time by order declare any particular class or description of necessitous persons to be recipients for the purposes of this Part of this Act, and whenever any such order is made, the word "recipient" shall, so long as such order is in force and subject to any amendment thereof, be construed and have effect in this Part of this Act as including the class or description of persons declared by such order to be recipients.

(3) The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may at any time by order amend or revoke any order previously made by him under this section.

This proposal arises out of a suggestion made by Deputy Cosgrave that we were confining free meat to two classes, recipients of home assistance and of unemployment assistance. The Deputy stated that there might be other classes, so far unforeseen, which should be included and this amendment is to allow the Minister, by a future regulation, to bring in any other class that should obviously be brought in.

What machinery will the Minister have for that?

Dr. Ryan

He will specify it.

Can you give some definition?

Dr. Ryan

We do not know what the class might be yet.

I am very glad that the Minister has brought in the amendment to deal with what was an obvious blank in the Bill, so that benefit should be given to people other than those in receipt of home assistance or unemployment assistance. This is an attempt to meet that position. I do not know how the Minister is going to effect it. He will have to put in some regulation. Obviously people whose means do not amount to a certain sum would be included. There are numbers of workers who are neither in receipt of home assistance nor unemployment assistance who are in necessitous circumstances but too proud to live at the State expense. If there are privileges to be given to certain classes there should be machinery to extend them to others. The Minister should provide for that power in some other form. There should be some local authority with power to give such people relief without any order or appeal to the Minister. Deputies will have in mind the type of cases I am referring to. There are in every constituency numbers of these people. While I am glad the amendment has been brought in I am not quite certain that any order made would not be bound up with such regulations as would debar many persons who have never been defined as necessitous persons, from benefiting. It should be within the discretion of some body like a county council or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to give relief to necessitous persons, other than those receiving home assistance or unemployment assistance.

Dr. Ryan

That can be done. I am sure we could frame some sort of order defining the class of people who might be on the lists of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Does the amendment provide for them?

Dr. Ryan


Amendment agreed to.
Section 38, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 39 stand part of the Bill."

Can the Minister say how he is going to get rid of the surplus cattle?

Dr. Ryan

I stated on the Second Reading that we exported about 240,000 fat cattle in 1933 and consumed about 120,000. I said that home consumption is about 180,000 and that export licences will account for 120,000, which brings the number up to 300,000. If we dispose of 60,000 by way of free meat and some other schemes that we are providing for, for instance, tinned meat, we will dispose of as many cattle as in 1932 or 1933. Our surplus cattle problem amounts to that. We calculate that the free meat scheme can be made to absorb 78,000, if pushed to the limit.

I have no doubt about that if enough is given.

Dr. Ryan

The people are there, and why not give them enough?

Provided the State pays.

Dr. Ryan

We can solve this problem if this Bill can be administered. I admit that it is a hard Bill to administer. That is why the Minister is asking for such drastic powers.

We exported in 1933 240,000 cattle and we consumed 120,000. The Minister now estimates that consumption will dispose of 180,000 and export 120,000, while 60,000 will be distributed free.

Dr. Ryan

We have to deal with 60,000. We contemplate a tinned meat factory, as well as the free meat, and between all the 60,000 will be disposed of.

Of course, the Minister realises that these people to whom free beef vouchers will be issued ate meat in 1933.

Dr. Ryan

I know that there is some overlapping.

All of them had some meat?

Dr. Ryan

Some of them had none.

The Minister will find that some of them had more than he or I had.

Dr. Ryan

I would not say that. I am able to do 1lb. daily.

You are hardly worth it after this Bill. However that is the Minister's statement. I am afraid he will be disappointed. I hope not. All I have to say is that it is a poor solution that we have to start the profession of pauperism here in order to get rid of our surplus produce, instead of having the people, with their heads up, walking in to buy that meat. Now we have to send them in as paupers.

Dr. Ryan

We are glad to be able to give them enough.

Question put and agreed to.
(1) Whenever the Minister is satisfied in respect of any particular area that it is for any reason not practicable to make under this part of this Act a contract for such area with a registered proprietor of registered premises for the free supply of beef to recipients, the Minister may by order—
(a) declare such area to be an appointed area for the purposes of this Act, and
(b) require the registered proprietor of every registered victualling premises in such area, on demand made in accordance with this Act by a recipient, to supply free of charge to such recipient such quantity of beef of a specified kind and quality as shall be lawfully so demanded by such recipient, and
(c) fix the maximum weekly quantity of such beef which each such registered proprietor shall be obliged so to supply to recipients, and
(d) fix the price to be paid by the Minister to each such registered proprietor for the beef so supplied by such registered proprietor.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 25:—

In sub-section (1), before the words "by order" to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."

This is the same as amendment No. 8.

Does the butcher contract to pay the ordinary price for the beef he will have to supply?

Dr. Ryan

Yes, the fixed price.

Amendment put and agreed to.
The following amendment was agreed to:—
In sub-section (4), after the words "Minister may," to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."—(Dr. Ryan).
Section 40, as amended, put and agreed to.
Sections 41, 42, 43 and 44 put and agreed to.

Amendment No. 27 is out of order as involving a potential increase of charge.

Sections 45, 46 and 47 put and agreed to.
(2) Whenever any inspector or any such officer as is mentioned in the foregoing sub-section of this section or any member of the Gárda Síochána finds on an inquiry or investigation made by him under that sub-section any abuse, irregularity, or other matter in relation to the execution of this part of this Act which appears to him to require remedying, it shall be the duty of such inspector, officer, or member (as the case may be) to make such report and take such other steps as appear to him proper in the circumstances for securing the remedying of such abuse, irregularity or other matter.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 28:—

In sub-section (2), to delete the words "and take such other steps as appear" and substitute the words "as appears."

As the section stands, the inspector is the person who would be empowered and expected to take up a case and see it to the end. That is not usual in legislation of this kind. The inspector should report to the Department and then the Department would take the proper action through the Chief State Solicitor. This amendment brings it into line with other legislation in that way.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 29:—

In sub-section (2), to delete all from the words "for securing" to the end of the sub-section.

That deals with the same thing.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.